2017 02 19 Newsletter

2017 02 19 Newsletter

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2017 02 12 Newsletter

2017 02 12 Newsletter

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Founded on faith in Mary

The parish church of Enniskeane and Desertserges was the dream of Father Daniel Coveney who was parish priest in the parish from 1867 until his death in 1877. Fr Coveney grew up in Tracton Abbey Parish and studied for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome. He was ordained there in 1839 so he returned to serve in Ireland as a priest in what was to be the most difficult time in Irish history — the Great Famine was about to unfold its devastation on the land and its people.

When Fr. Coveney came to Enniskeane, the people went to Mass in a chapel which stood just north of Enniskeane on the right of the road going up to Gurteenroe. This chapel was probably built in the late 1700s and was by then in disrepair. Fr Coveney persuaded the then Duke of Devonshire to donate land for the new church. He donated 17 acres which were intended to accommodate the church, a presbytery, stable, and grazing for the priest’s horse. The Duke also contributed a generous donation of £250 towards the cost of the building.

Fr Coveney entrusted the design of the church to Richard Evans of Cork. Evan had just completed building a church for Crosshaven parish (near Fr. Coveney’s native parish). History doesn’t record who the builders were but, in all probability, it was built under the oversight of Evan by local labour. The stone was drawn by horse and cart from a “nearby quarry”.

On Sunday, May 7th, 1871, the foundation stone of the new church was laid and blessed by Bishop of Cork, Dr William Delany. This stone is on the external wall of the church — behind the altar.

Foundation stone of Enniskeane Church

The inscription on the stone is in Latin and it echoes two aspects of Fr Coveney’s life. His experience in Rome and his devotion to Our Lady. It reads: Continue reading

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2017 02 05 Newsletter

2017 02 05 Newsletter

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Ah, that’s brass!

It’s good to give thanks! That’s not original because the bible and the Christian tradition are peppered with this motif. But we don’t always heed it.

A few days ago I collected from a craftsman in Cork city a Missal Stand belong to our parish which I had left in to be repaired several months ago – indicating that there was no hurry with it. [A missal stand is used to support the missal on the altar, ie the book which contains all the prayers for each Mass.] It is a good few years since it was used. It had been put to one side because it was damaged as a result of a bad fall which snapped off the ledge that supports the book.

It was repaired by what is now the only form in Cork working with brass. Murphy & Quinlan is based off Douglas Street in the heart of the South Parish and John and Barry have kept alive a craft which was once practised by up to four firms in Cork. John is lamenting the fact that when they retire, it will probably mean the end of this great skill in Cork.

But back to our missal stand. John did a lovely job of cleaning it, polishing it, replacing the ledge for the missal and then lacquering it – making look as new. He commented, in passing, that it must be very hold. I asked him if he thought the beautiful shapes and engraving were cut out of the brass plates. He said, no, the main part was hot moulded — probably in the 1800s when they had no electric tools — and then the ornamentation was engraved on the other side by hand.

This gave me a renewed appreciation of the beautiful workmanship that created this stand, the time it took to make it, and the spirit in the hearts of the people who made it, commissioned it, polished it down through the years and all the people who prayed near it — as well as all my former colleague priests who have offered Mass beside it.

The engraved face of the Missal Stand at Enniskeane Church

I used it at Mass in Enniskeane Church again today. I also prayed a prayer of thanks for all the people who have helped maintain and adorn our churches through the ages in praise of God. I also gave thanks for the gift of the craftspeople who help us to see that God is beauty.

The reverse of the missal stand

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2017 01 29 Newsletter

2017 01 29 Newsletter

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